Phlox is one of our favorite flower cultures. It seems that these simple but such lovely flowers have always grown in our gardens. Genus phlox(Phlox) belongs to a relatively small family of cyanotic (Polemoniaceae), and includes 50 types. Of these, the most common in culture phlox paniculata(Phlox paniculata), more precisely, numerous varieties and hybrids obtained on its basis, of which there are about 400.
Choosing a place for planting phlox, one should remember the growing conditions of their wild relatives. They are found in areas with a temperate warm and very humid climate, where there is often no snow in winter and the average temperature is kept around + 4OC. As a rule, these are meadows, river floodplains or forest edges, with loose, unheated by the sun, moist soils with a sufficient organic content.
What should be the growing conditions and the best location of phlox in our garden? One of the main requirements is the ability to water the plants abundantly. Even in places with a close occurrence of groundwater during a prolonged drought, phloxes suffer greatly from drying out. The second most important condition for their successful culture is high soil fertility.
Landings can be arranged both in open areas and in partial shade. The best will still be places under the protection of shrubs or rare trees with light shade during hot midday hours, especially for dark-colored varieties. In such places, snow accumulates better, and phloxes suffer less from sudden temperature fluctuations in winter.
It is desirable that the site has a slight slope, then during the period of snow melting and prolonged rains, the plants are not flooded with water. Slopes are unfavorable for planting, where the soil quickly overheats and dries out. In addition, here phloxes suffer from the wind, and in winter, when snow is blowing off the slope, they can freeze out. Areas under the crowns of trees with a superficial root system (birch, willow, poplar, spruce, old lilac bushes) are also not suitable.
A flower garden with phlox can be arranged from the east, south-east, south-west and west sides of the house. Plants will feel worst of all near the northern wall and in the shade of conifers. They can live in such conditions, but it will be impossible to achieve full flowering.
This cold-hardy culture is also resistant in the harsh regions of northern Russia with short summers. Here phloxes are placed in areas protected from cold winds and open from the southern, southeastern and southwestern sides, on raised heated flower beds, with a reliable winter shelter. Preference should be given to varieties with a shorter growing season, that is, early and mid-early, abandoning mid-late and late.
In the conditions of the sharply continental climate of Siberia, Altai Territory, and the Urals with cold, often little snowy winters, phloxes are planted in well-lit places protected from the wind with the greatest accumulation of snow. For the winter, it is necessary to cover it with peat, sheet or non-woven material such as agryl or lutrasil in several layers. In such areas, it is also necessary to select varieties with earlier flowering dates.
In the southern regions, for planting phlox, the most humid areas protected from drying winds in light partial shade, near trees, the wings of their tall shrubs, buildings, and also near water bodies, should be allocated for planting phlox. Here, preference should be given to later varieties.
How to properly prepare the soil. One of the misconceptions is that phlox grow well on any soil and they have enough fertile soil layer 15 cm thick. Every year these plants form many stems, leaves, flower caps, consuming a lot of moisture and nutrients. With their lack, they will use the reserves accumulated in the rhizomes for some time, and then begin to deplete, forming thin low stems and small rare flowers.
The best for phlox are medium loamy fertile, loose and moist soils close to neutral (pH 5.5-7.0). The development and flowering of plants is very favorably affected by the introduction of decomposed horse or cow manure, compost, leafy soil and ash in combination with mineral fertilizers and organic mixtures.
The root system of phlox is powerful, branched, reaches a depth of 25-30 cm. The bulk of the feeding roots is located in the soil layer up to 20 cm, so the site is cultivated to the depth of a shovel bayonet, that is, by about 30 cm.
It is advisable to prepare the soil in advance, for spring planting - in the fall, for autumn - at least 2 weeks in advance, so that it has time to settle well. The site is preliminarily cleared of debris and perennial weeds. Coarse river sand, compost, low-lying peat, humus, lime (250-300 g / m2), mineral fertilizers are added to heavy clay soils. The soil is dug up many times, achieving a homogeneous fine crumbly structure. Sandy loam needs to be made more moisture-consuming and nutritious. For this purpose, clay, sod soil, compost, humus and mineral fertilizers are applied under the planting.
On clean sands, having determined the location and configuration of the flower garden, soil is selected over its entire area to a depth of 45-50 cm. The bottom is lined with clay with a layer of 15-20 cm. Then the prepared fertile soil is poured, tamped and watered abundantly. After that, the flower garden should rise approximately 15 cm above the surface of the site.
When phlox is planted in the fall, phosphorus-potassium fertilizers are applied directly to the root zone in the pits, and nitrogen-containing and complete complex fertilizers are best used in the spring.
How to choose planting material. A standard division of phlox in the fall should have 2-3 thick stems, cut at a height of 5-10 cm (preferably with several healthy leaves), well-formed large renewal buds at their base. The roots should be healthy, shortened up to 15 cm, and the skin on the stems coarse, greenish. It is impossible to acquire rotten, dried out, small, broken off, moldy plots without noticeable renewal buds, with swollen, cracked stem bases. The plant must be labeled with the variety.
When sold in spring, a standard phlox planting unit should have 4-5 strong colored (not etiolated) shoots from 1 to 6 cm long with shiny healthy tissues and well-developed healthy roots shortened to 10-15 cm. Withered, with darkened roots, with broken or thinned, elongated or discolored shoots of the delenka represent poor-quality planting material.
In garden centers, phloxes are sold in containers or colorful bags wrapped in peat and sawdust to keep the roots of the plant from drying out. The container option is preferable, but it must be borne in mind that mostly outdated, often low-decorative varieties come to us from Europe. In addition, the brought plants take longer to acclimatize in our conditions and acquire the qualities characteristic of the variety only for 2-3 years. As for the planting material in bags, it often turns out to be dry, very weak, or with already awakened and broken buds. It is possible to get full-fledged plants from it only for 3-4 years. This requires constant care and attention, since weak planting material is susceptible to various diseases and pest attacks.
The best planting material is obtained from cuttings in the second year of cultivation.
When phlox is planted. This can be done in spring, summer and fall. Each term has its own pros and cons.
Autumn planting, as well as transplanting and dividing phloxes of early, mid-early and medium flowering periods, are best carried out starting from the end of August, after the plants have formed renewal buds. This work should be completed in late September - early October.Late flowering varieties are recommended to be planted from mid-September to early October or in spring. Before the onset of frost, phloxes should root well. This is facilitated by mulching the plantings with peat or other insulating material in October to maintain a higher temperature in the rhizome zone.
Plants adapt faster to a new place if leaves are preserved on the stems. Autumn planting, carried out at the optimal time, allows you to get a full-fledged lush bloom next year. In autumn, planting dates (35-40 days) are much longer than spring ones (10-12 days).
If the plants were obtained only at the end of October - November, they should be dug in until spring. In this case, the bases of the stems with the buds of renewal are sprinkled with soil by 10 cm, and the place of the ditch is marked. With the onset of stable frosts, phloxes are covered with peat, a sheet or non-woven covering material in several layers, then with snow. In the spring, as soon as the soil thaws, the plants are dug out, trying not to break off the still growing fragile shoots.
Spring planting, transplanting and division begin after the soil thaws. In central Russia, this is the end of April - beginning of May. It is safer to navigate in terms of the plants themselves. Optimally, work should be started from the moment the shoots grow back until the time when they reach 10 cm in length. During this period, it is still cool and the soil is well saturated with moisture. With an increase in average daily temperatures, phloxes grow rapidly and are more injured during transplantation, which leads to a delay of flowering by 1.5 - 2 weeks and a reduction in its duration.
In the spring, phloxes are divided into larger parts. Before planting, it is better to store them in the refrigerator, and after planting, cover them with agril (lutrasil). In the overhanging period, plants are more sensitive to a lack of moisture in the soil and are susceptible to diseases. But at this time, almost all broken off parts (shoots, pieces of rhizomes), planted in the ground and covered with a film or non-woven material, with sufficient moisture, take root.
Summer planting of flowering plants allows you to be absolutely sure of the variety of the plant. After that, the inflorescences should be removed, and the plants should be shaded. In hot, dry weather, they are watered and sprayed both in the evening and in the morning. For better survival, it is advisable to use drugs such as epin, root according to the instructions.
Accommodation. Low-growing and curb varieties are planted at a distance of 35-40 cm. 6-7 plants can be planted per 1 m2. Medium-sized varieties with a height of 70-90 cm are placed every 50-55 cm. For tall phloxes with a height of 100-150 cm, the distance from each other should be at least 60-70 cm. However, in each case it depends on the planned duration of use. In private gardens, with proper agricultural technology, phloxes do not lose their decorative effect for 6-7 years. However, in each case it depends on the planned duration of their use. In private gardens, with proper agricultural technology, phloxes do not lose their decorative effect for 6-7 years. However, with a very high agricultural background, this period is reduced to 5 years, since the rhizome grows very quickly, depriving the center of the bush of nutrition.
In mixed flower beds, the distance between plants can be reduced if non-aggressive perennials (antemis, bells, cornflower, rudbeckia, aquilegia, basil, carnations, lychnis) are planted nearby. Daylilies, hosta, astilbe, peonies, clematis need a large feeding area, and when planting closely, phloxes quickly lose their decorative effect. In shady areas, the distance between plants should be slightly increased.
Landing. Before starting work, a breakdown is made on the surface of the prepared flower garden, that is, the planting sites are determined. The size of the planting hole should be larger than the root ball. The necessary fertilizers are placed at the bottom of the hole, mixed with the soil and water is poured.If the plants have withered, then it is advisable to pre-soak them for several hours in solutions of growth stimulants. When planting, the roots are straightened to the sides and down. The rhizome is placed so that its top is 3-5 cm below the soil level. After planting, the soil is compacted and watered.